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12 comments   Listen   Print   article:329697:43::0
In the Media

article imageN.Y. company quits Facebook, claims ad clicks came from bots

A Long Island, N.Y. based company is ticked off at Facebook, saying the social network giant charged them for ad clicks that came from automated "bots".
According to tech writer Mike Elgin in a Google+ post, a company called Limited Run posted on their Facebook page they are leaving the network and permanently severing ties after they discovered 80 percent of the ad clicks they were charged for came from bots.
The post opens by stating the company (formerly Limited Pressing) plans to delete its Facebook page in the near future, but wanted to share with their followers the reasons why (at last count on July 30, Limited Run has 1,010 followers and appears to be growing).
Limited Run writes on both their Facebook page and duplicates the post on the company's blog:
"A couple months ago, when we were preparing to launch the new Limited Run, we started to experiment with Facebook ads. Unfortunately, while testing their ad system, we noticed some very strange things. Facebook was charging us for clicks, yet we could only verify about 20% of them actually showing up on our site. At first, we thought it was our analytics service. We tried signing up for a handful of other big name companies, and still, we couldn't verify more than 15-20% of clicks. So we did what any good developers would do. We built our own analytic software. Here's what we found: on about 80% of the clicks Facebook was charging us for, JavaScript wasn't on. And if the person clicking the ad doesn't have JavaScript, it's very difficult for an analytics service to verify the click."
Limited Run went on to explain they then began tracking page views and discovered that bots were driving up page views, which equated to higher advertising costs.
"The 80% of clicks we were paying for were from bots," the company wrote. Allegedly, Facebook did not reply to Limited Run's concerns.
TechCrunch contacted Limited Run for additional information.
"Sadly, Facebook would only reply with automated response about how ‘all analytics services track differently’ when we tried to confront them,” Tom Mango, a co-founder of Limited Run, told TechCrunch. “To be clear, we spent roughly a month testing this and confirming everything. This wasn’t a weekend project.”
Limited Run makes it explicitly clear they do not know who the bots belong to, and they are not accusing Facebook of using bots. They did, however, call Facebook "scumbags" because the company purportedly also would not allow them to change the name on their Facebook page (they'd changed the business name) unless they spent $2,000 or more in advertising a month.
"Facebook was holding our name hostage. So we did what any good hardcore kids would do. We cursed that piece of s*** out!," read the post. "Damn we were so p****d. We still are. This is why we need to delete this page and move away from Facebook. They're scumbags and we just don't have the patience for scumbags."
“That I believe is the most egregious thing,” Nick Mango, co-founder, told Betabeat by phone. “They wouldn’t let us change our name without agreeing to $2,000 at least in advertising a month. We couldn’t believe it. We contacted them a few times about changing the name and they were like, ‘Oh well maybe. We’ll contact you.’ Then we got a phone call from someone there and that’s when they proposed [the advertising deal].”
The New York Times pointed out that this comes at an "inopportune time" as Facebook is working hard to increase ad revenue to satisfy shareholders.
Since Facebook's IPO debut in May, the stock has not been performing as well as hoped. At time of publish, the stock closed at $23.15 a share, far below its initial offering of $38.
At this time Facebook has not appeared to speak out about either issue. Both TechCrunch and BetaBeat reached out to the social network giant.
article:329697:43::0
More about limited run, limited pressing, Facebook, ad clicks, Bots
 
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